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"Potassium Ferricyanide? I thought this was art, not science" - A Brief introduction to cyanotypes.


After much fun and play with the film and Polaroid camera, I feel it's time to move forward and start looking at other ways to create resolve pieces. I remember last year we did a solid type of workshop. which is a light-sensitive print technique which was formerly used to create the blueprint of architecture we have come to know. although it has practical uses it's creative possibilities seem to me and I really enjoyed exploring what was possible with it in this workshop.


In the workshop, we were supplied with the chemicals but when it came to supplying My OwnI was able to find them pretty easily. The solution is composed of two chemicals, Ferric Ammonium Citrate and Potassium Ferricyanide. Each chemical powder is poured into two separate containers you then add a measure of water to create a solution of each chemical. These chemicals have quite a long shelf life as long as you don't mix them together and keep them out of sight. Once mixed together in equal parts creates the solution that is used to create cyanotype and is extremely light-sensitive that so it's best to do it in the darkroom with no direct sunlight.



The process is done by painting a surface of thick paper with the chemical solution, then after it has dried, place an acetate with a negative image on top of it then expose it to a UV light source. You can do this with a UV lamp but I found the sunny day is the speediest way to do it. ( plus you get to sunbathe).


After the image has been fully developed by the UV light, in a bath of water to remove part of the chemical that causes a reaction and fixes the cyanotype to the paper. as it soaks a yellowish colour bleed from the paper into the water, leaving blue positive of the image that was on acetate.


Once this is done you can leave it to dry and as it does this the deep blue colours will develop naturally over time, or if you're impatient like me you can add hydrogen peroxide whilst it's soaking in water to bring out those deep Blues quicker.


I absolutely love this technique and whilst investigating it I found interesting ways to prep the paper with the cyanotype fluids. For example, using a solution and quill to draw onto the paper or dripping and splash it before exposing it with the negative.

There will be more to come, so keep your eyes peeled on my blog to see where this process takes me.




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